Monthly Archives: July 2016

Spring – Summer 2016 Update

So much has been going on, time for website updates has been limited!

A LOT of work has been going on at the Works in preparation for the new Railway of the King’s Lynn and District SME at Lynnsport. A Warrior pallet lift has been modified to serve as a variable height traverser mounted platform; allowing locos to be offloaded onto platform at whichever height is the car or trailer. The platform can then move up and down the rails to one of the four raised loco prep areas, and drop to near ground level to run off onto the main circuit. This thing follows the usual ALW criteria, FFP = Fit For Purpose. This often means that said item is also HEAVY, this is no exception, however it will serve the Club well for many years.

hydrailerMy two sit-astride passenger trolleys were brought out of retirement, and a few weeks spent refurbishing them ready for the King’s Lynn club to borrow for their portable track outings this year. They have performed well at the Walpole Flower Festival, with two other ALW products – Drewry 3 and Harlech Castle providing the motive power for this weekend session. Harlech registered 6 miles, that’s a lot of shunting up and down a 60 metre track! IMG_9301_tonemapped

The trolleys and Drewry 3 also made it to the Fenland Food and Craft Fair at the Secret Garden Touring Park, a one-day event that was well worthwhile and we hope to be invited back again next year.

In the workshop, aside from the carriages and the lift, the M7 has been undergoing an overhaul… well, it is 9 years old now! A lot of the wiring has been simplified and replaced, the air compressor is now in the driving trolley for ease of access and the air brake cylinders have also been upgraded to apply a greater amount of brake force than before. The combined air brakes and the re-gen of the 4QD controller was sufficient to stop the loco from speed in short order, now it’ll be better with heavier loads that we seem to be getting out and about.

batteries fit

Speedfit battery connectors, no more faffing with spanners! Click = done!

new brakes

A new brake cylinder (top) with an old one removed from the loco

The situation now is that there are two driving trolleys, one is for the M7 with its air brake gear, and the other is for the Sentinel which is set up with vacuum brakes.

Harlech has received the same speedfit battery connectors which saves hunting for spanners. A new pot for the hand controller is being looked into as it seems to have a dead spot in the upper half of its motion. Not being thrashed enough!

Outings for the first half of the season have been limited for various reasons, a trip to the annual Hemsby Week was made with Harlech and the Sentinel; the weather wasn’t everso great but we had fun nevertheless. Nice to meet up with Mike and Charlie from the Norwich club, and their locos; the tiny Sentinel which can shift an amazing load, and the Class 73 which probably has as much power as the real thing!


Comparing Sentinels, one petrol hydraulic and the other petrol electric. Both very capable machines


The 73 is a beast! Harlech seems to have found some nice Gresley teak carriages… should upset the purists!

The second major outing of the season was to the Weeting Steam Engine Rally, where we help our friends the Brandon and District Model Engineering Society with their operations. The Sentinel came to play on the Friday and along with Norman’s ‘Warship’, a small Hunslet looking steam engine and a recently completed ‘Statfold’ steam loco, handled the deluge of excitable schoolchildren who were queued along the station approaches solidly from 10am to 2.30pm! Some loads totalled 17 children plus driver and guard and the Sentinel performed impeccably and only drank half its tank of fuel.


Harlech came to play on the Saturday, and with two steam locos in service plus another battery electric, it wasn’t being used as intensively as before; it acted as early morning haulage and covering of lunch and service breaks for the steamers, plus the last few runs in the afternoon. Not that Ben minded, plenty of opportunity for tea stops and to sample some of the delicious, if a bit pricey, fish and chips from the truck in the next arena. Even in this reduced capacity, the speedometer recorded 9.8 miles for the day, and some heavy trains.

The Brandon track looks flat, but it isn’t… something like a 1 in 80 gradient to climb, tight corners to negotiate, followed by having to brake on a 1 in 80 downhill into the station! Quite a demanding circuit, the 6hp Sentinel with its Eaton drive unit handles it with ease but the 1hp Harlech requires some skilled driving to keep it moving and the amps in a safe range.

IMG_9621_tonemapped IMG_9667 IMG_9673_tonemapped

Until next time…!